Awal Muharram in 2019

national and public holidays in Malaysia Islamic New Year is a public holiday observed in several countries

Awal Muharram or Hijri New Year is celebrated by Muslims as the day symbolises two important events in the Muslim year.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

When is Awal Muharram?

Dates of Awal Muharram

Year Weekday Date
2020 Thursday
2019 Sunday
2018 Tuesday
2017 Friday
2016 Sunday

Who observes Muharram in 2018?

Country Date Known as
Algeria Algeria 11 Sep Muharram
Bahrain Bahrain 11 Sep Hijri New Year
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina (regional) 11 Sep Hijri New Year
Brunei Brunei 11 Sep Al-Hijra
Djibouti Djibouti 11 Sep Awal Muharram
Egypt Egypt 11 Sep El Hijra
India India 11 Sep Muharram
Indonesia Indonesia 11 Sep Muharram
Iraq Iraq 11 Sep Islamic New Year
Jordan Jordan 11 Sep Hijri New Year
Kuwait Kuwait 11 Sep Hijri New Year
Lebanon Lebanon 11 Sep Hijri New Year
Libya Libya 11 Sep Hijri New Year
Malaysia Malaysia 11 Sep Awal Muharram
Maldives Maldives 11 Sep Islamic New Year
Mauritania Mauritania 11 Sep Awal Muharram
Morocco Morocco 11 Sep Fatih Muharram
Niger Niger 11 Sep Muharam
Nigeria Nigeria (regional) 11 Sep Islamic New Year
Oman Oman 11 Sep Hijri New Year
Sudan Sudan 11 Sep Islamic New Year
Tunisia Tunisia 11 Sep Ras el am el Hejri
Yemen Yemen 11 Sep Hijri New Year
United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates 13 Sep Hijri New Years Day

Awal Muharram or Hijri New Year is celebrated by Muslims as the day symbolises two important events in the Islamic year.

Awal means beginning in English and Muharram is the name of the first month in the Muslim calendar. The first day of Muharram is therefore the Islamic New Year's Day and on this date the Hijra, the historic journey from Mecca to Medina began.

The Islamic Calendar

Islam has a calendar based on the revolutions of the Moon rather than the sun. Thus, it is only 354 days long. Islamic New Year is celebrated on the first day of Muharram, the first Islamic month.

Compared to Western calendars, the Islamic year goes backwards by about 11 days every year.

The date shown on this page is the date that most countries will observe. The date in some countries may vary by up to two days, as some countries use a lunar sighting basis to determine the date. Because of this, the offical dates may not be announced until close to the actual day.

Islamic New Year

This day is a public holiday in most Islamic countries and the date for New Year in each country for 2018 along with the name of the day in that country is shown in the table of countries to the right.

Islamic New Year represents the starting point of the Muslim era as it coincides with the Hijrah, the Prophet's journey from Mecca to Medina on the first of Muharram in 622 CE.

Prophet Mohammed decide to leave Mecca as life was becoming intolerable in Mecca and he found out about an elaborate plan to kill him. Consequently, the Prophet chose to migrate to a town known as Yathrib, some 320 km north of Mecca. Yathrib is known today as Medina, in modern-day Saudi Arabia, which translates to 'the city'.

Hijrah gave freedom from suffering for the Muslims in Mecca. When the Prophet emigrated to Medina, Muslims there were indirectly saved from further persecution by the Meccan pagans. After the Hijrah, it was then declared by the Prophet in the Constitution of Medina (the world's first written constitution) that Muslims are a universal brotherhood with a unique identity in faith and ideology.

Umar ibn Al-Khattab, a close companion of Prophet Muhammad and the second caliph, subsequently adopted Hijrah as the reference point for the Islamic calendar, either in 638 CE or 639 CE.

The customs of Awal Muharram vary from country to country, though they generally involve attending various religious activities, spiritual singing and religious meetings. The traditions and customs for Muharram also vary between Shia and Sunni Muslims.

For both, the marking of the beginning of the new year is usually quiet, unlike New Year's celebrations associated with other calendars. It is a time for Muslims to reflect on the passing of time and their own mortality.

To mark Muharram, Muslims will recite Koranic verses and hold special prayers and sermons at public halls and mosques.

The New Year itself is known to Muslims as Maal Hijra.

Muharram is the second most holy month of the Islamic year, after Ramadan. On 10 Muharram, many Muslims mark Ashura which commemorates the martyrdom of Hussain ibn Ali, the grandson of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad.

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